Executive Director & CTO PowerAmerica, NC, United States
Silicon (Si) power devices have dominated power electronics due to their low cost volume production, excellent starting material quality, ease of fabrication, and proven reliability. Although Si power devices continue to make progress, they are approaching their operational limits primarily due to their relatively low bandgap and critical electric field that result in high conduction and switching losses, and poor high temperature performance. In this talk, the favorable material properties of Silicon Carbide (SiC), which allow for highly efficient power devices with reduced form-factor and cooling requirements, will be outlined. High impact application opportunities, where SiC devices are displacing their incumbent Si counterparts, will be presented with an emphasis on automotive. The design of planar and trench MOSFETs, which are presently being inserted in the majority of SiC based power electronic systems, will be stressed. Fab models will be analyzed, and the vibrant U.S. SiC manufacturing infrastructure (that mirrors that of Si) will be presented. Barriers to SiC mass commercialization will be identified and discussed. These include the higher than silicon device cost, reliability and ruggedness concerns, defects that degrade device performance, and the need for a trained workforce to skillfully insert SiC into power electronics systems. The presentation will conclude with a brief description of the PowerAmerica consortium, which spans all aspects of the WBG supply chain, and the value it brings to its 76 members.